We love Halloween and all things fall!
Pumpkins, apple cider from Banard's Orchard, colorful leaves and crisp autumn nights! Halloween also officially marks the kick-off to sugar season too-with the holidays arriving a few short weeks later, I'd like to offer some practical tips and strategies to keep you and your family from getting a bad case of the "sugar blues" this holiday season!
First off, sugar doesn't just make us fat, it's more complex than that-it ignites a host of health concerns that have a cascading effect on your immune and hormonal systems.
Some of the harmful effects of sugar include:
- it suppresses your immune system, making you susceptible to colds and the flu
- it drives inflammation in the body and one of the root causes of joint and muscular pain
- it can exacerbate, even cause depression
- it accelerates aging, yes ladies it promotes wrinkles!
In addition to the mounting evidence on how sugar promotes lifestyle related diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc.) , let's not forget its impact on behavior too!
Sugar does have an impact on the way children behave; it dictates their mood-junk food=junk moods. My children are especially sensitive to sugar because they don't really get any added sugar in their daily diet, only natural sugars from gluten free whole grains, starchy carbohydrates and fruits.
When they get their hands on a juice box or come home from a birthday party, I frankly can't even stand to be the same room as them-they are demonic (lol). They usually end up on the floor in a tantrum, rolling around telling me life isn't fair;-) They feel awful and I gently remind them what is going on inside their body and they of course roll their eyes, and we call it a night. A good night sleep cures everything.
The next day they tell me they never want to feel like that again, I smile and serve them a nutritious, protein packed breakfast to reboot their hormonal system and turn off future sugar cravings.
That being said, sugar has the same impact on our mood too. It causes brain fog, inattentiveness and irritability to name a few.
Here are some practical tips to keep everyone happy and healthy on Halloween and prevent a sugar hangover in your house:
1. Don't buy Halloween candy until the day or two before Halloween. I know people who start buying it when it first hits the stores. Unless you have willpower armor, why even sabotage yourself?
2. Upgrade your candy bowl. Yes, I'm that house who hands out stickers, spooky rings and glow bracelets, but if you don't want to get egged this year, upgrade your goodies to much cleaner versions free of chemicals and dyes that are known to cause behavioral issues in children and adults.
- Yum Earth: Allergen free candy free of GMO's, gluten and nuts and colored using vegetables dyes! They offer lollipops, gummies and hard candies! My girls love these!
- Black Forrest Organics: A small batch company that takes pride in the ingredients they use in their products!
- Organic Candy Corn!: I'm not sure how, but they did it! A much healthier version of this holiday favorite!
- Enjoy Life Allergen Free Halloween Packs! We love these little allergen free chocolate packs! Great for a special treat in the lunchbox too!
- Z Cliff Bars: These may not be nut free, but for those without nut allergies, these are a good choice!
3. Make sure your little goblin eats a protein packed dinner before they hit the streets. Baked chicken tenders served up with sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli or a delicious bowl of crock-pot chili are the perfect PRE trick o treat dinner. This will help balance their blood sugar, keep them satisfied and not want to eat 40 snicker bars;-)
4. Hydrate adequately and 86 the fruit juice Remind your little one to drink water during their night out on the prowl. There is no need to let them drink a juice box to send their blood sugar into spiraling down disaster mode.
5. Damage control the next day. I let my girls pick 3 candies to have on Halloween and then we take the rest and ration 1 piece daily for a week in their lunch box. The rest we donate. Make sure you reset their metabolism and stop sugar cravings in their tracks with a protein packed breakfast. This means no cereal. Try a kefir and berry smoothie-combine 1 cup organic plain kefir with 1 cup frozen berries and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Blend and serve! Or scrambled eggs sauteed in coconut oil and served with 1/2 an avocado!
I hope everyone has a safe Halloween free of sugar meltdowns and grumpy mornings! If you follow these tips, you'll wake up next Wednesday with happy kids (and parents) ready to seize the day!
Your friend and coach,